The MLB Draft is still 167 days away, and while it feels like an eternity, front offices are now in the home stretch in dictating the next big move in their respective organizations. Speaking on that, it is also mock draft season, and the latest to drop courtesy of Prospects Live suggests the Chicago Cubs are primed to deepen their catching core further.
It may seem a tad odd, but multiple outlets have suggested the Cubs use their first-round selection on a backstop in 2021. Or, maybe, due to the unforgiving nature of rumor-mongering sweeping Wrigleyville, namely involving Willson Contreras, it makes sense to believe in this possibility.
Be it as it may, it is hard not to get excited at the idea of the Cubs pulling the trigger on the top prep catcher in this year’s draft class. Henry Ford attends North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. In terms of a track record, North Cobb has developed a handful of guys who went on to major league careers. Ford may be the best of the group.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs: Adrian Sampson is forcing his way into the conversation
- Projecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 season
- Cubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel
- Justin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the Cubs
- The future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs
Cubs: Jed Hoyer should continue to embrace Theo Epstein’s strategy
In 2016, Theo Epstein stood by his strategy when it came to the draft: pick the best available player. Since the 2021 Draft will be the first under Hoyer’s eye, the process which netted the Cubs superstar third baseman Kris Bryant should continue to be embraced. The buck does not stop this year if Ford is on the board.
Ford is currently ranked 24th among Baseball America’s top 200 (subscription required) and is considered one of the class’ top players. As an anomaly of sorts in the fact that his power is remarkable given the 5-foot-11 frame. In addition to the power, Ford is well above-average in the speed category, clocked at 6.50 seconds in the 60-yard dash, according to Perfect Game. As a catcher, that is borderline elite.
Don’t let the small frame fool you, however. Ford’s bat speed is also above-average, and the quick-twitch allows for a smooth transition through the zone, helping to produce the power and solid barrel-to-bat contact.
Of the things which have impressed scouts most in Ford is his defensive ability behind the plate. Ford’s pop time has been clocked between 1.81 and 1.93, which is elite in its own right. The natural foot movement and quickness have given scouts the belief that he will stick behind the dish and develop into a strong defensive presence.
As it were, the Cubs have no more considerable amount of depth than at the catcher position. It is a good thing, too, considering there may be no Contreras come Opening Day. Entertaining the sad, stark reality of this gossip, assuming Ford is available at number 21, Hoyer should man up and cross the Rubicon. The decision to draft Ford would send an admirable message to Cubs fans and show they mean business for a brighter future.